Saturday, November 24, 2007

Bound to fail

Unfortunately, it looks like the Cons have managed to obstruct against any reference to binding greenhouse gas emission targets. But let's take a moment to quickly dispose of Harper's predictable spin:
Prime Minister Stephen Harper successfully pressed for the deletion of key wording in a climate change communique that would have specified that all members support a "binding commitment" on developed countries to reduce emissions by specific targets.

"Canada's view is we need binding targets on all nations," said Mr. Harper, who dismissed reports that other countries opposed Canada.
Now, it should be obvious that if Canada's goal was in fact to ensure that all countries are subject to binding targets, then the logical course of action would have been to actually ask for that. And the wording presumably wouldn't have been difficult to work out: simply remove "developed" from the phrase "developed countries", and you get to a declaration which would indeed call for binding targets for everybody.

But instead, the Cons held out for a resolution which instead eliminated any reference to "binding targets" - demanding a lower standard rather than a higher one. And combined with their inexplicable pride over an APEC declaration which is explicitly "aspirational", there's plenty of reason to think the lone change in the Cons' position on climate change is a poor effort to pretend to care.

To sum up...
What Harper claims Canada wants: Binding targets for all
What the Commonwealth resolution would have included if not for Harper's obstruction: Binding targets for some
What Harper actually fought for and won within the resolution: Binding targets for none

Needless to say, fighting against binding targets for anybody is no way to make progress against climate change. And Harper's latest step in that direction should offer ample reason to make sure he isn't in a position to embarrass Canada abroad any longer.

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